Munch was born and lived almost his entire life in Norway. His family lived on a farm when Edvard was born, then lived with Edvard's grandparents in the capital. Edvard's mother and older sister died of consumption when he was very young, and his father was very neurotic and obsessive. Edvard was a sickly child plagued by neurosis and fears. He entertained himself by drawing.
He attended college briefly, then went to the Royal School of Art and Design in Christiania (now Oslo) where he excelled. At first he emulated the Impressionists, but felt they didn't provide enough scope for expressing his inner state. Ultimately he arrived at Symbolist art.
He went to Paris for the International Exhibition in 1884, where two of his paintings were displayed. Munch was thrilled to see firsthand the artworks and artists of Paris.
Upon his return home, his father died, leaving the family destitute. Edvard had to support the rest of his family from that point on. He began to feel that with so many deaths, it was hardly any use going on.
By 1891, he had developed his early mature style, a fairly flat space filled with vivid colour with each figure portraying a single emotional state, as with The Scream. He moved to Berlin for 4 years, where he became friends with Auguste Strindberg and other international intellectuals. In his Berlin years, he sketched out most of the ideas he would paint for the rest of his life.
He wrote about the moment that prompted him to paint The Scream, that he was walking with 2 friends at sunset and he felt very tired. He leaned against the railing of a bridge, and it seemed to him all of nature was screaming. At about that time in his life, he realized he no longer had the capacity to love again.
He created at least 4 versions of The Scream, in paint, pastel and crayon on cardboard. One is in the national Museum in Oslo, and is one of the most frequently stolen paintings of all time. Another version sold at auction for $119,000,000.
After The Scream, he worked on the theme of The Frieze of Life, and many of his paintings from that period focus on the passage of time, sickness and death. He'd grown up with a morbid and melancholy father. With all the illness, deaths and setbacks he'd experienced, he became deeply melancholic. He drank excessively and was prone to fits of violence.
By 1908, he had a complete breakdown and was hospitalized for 8 months. The treatment seemed to work, and his paintings after that were much brighter and less pessimistic.
His work became more popular and he was finally able to earn a decent living and provide for his family. He never married, despite a very intense love affair later in life.
During the Second World War, Munch was denounced by the Nazis as "degenerate," along with many of the twentieth century's most prominent artists. Some of his works were confiscated by the Nazis, but collectors bought some and returned them. When the Nazis invaded Norway, Munch was terrified that his works, which he'd hidden, might be taken. Ironically, when he died in 1944 at the age of 80, his funeral was orchestrated by the Nazis, who made it seem that he had always been a great friend of them and their cause, even though he had been a highly independent and non-political man all his life.
All of his works were bequeathed to the City of Oslo, which maintains the Munch Museum and Munch's estate.
The Ripoff Artists with their final interpretations of The Scream by Edvard Munch.
In 2016 the Ripoff Artists did a retroactive show of their works from 2007 to 2015 in Big Blue, next to the Studio building at the Quail's Nest Arts Centre. Many works were for sale, a first in the group's history.
A large gala reception opened the week, then the artists went to work on their interpretations of Munch. Both areas were open for visitors throughout the week.